September 26th, 2019 by Fiona Ong at Shawe Rosenthal
Once upon a time there was a social media policy in the land of Walmart. And the rulers of Walmart wanted to know that it was a just and fair policy, so they asked the gods that ruled their lives (Nike, Loki, Rhea, and Bacchus) to pass judgement.
So was born Operations-Management Memo 12-59, which proclaimed "the entire social media policy, as revised, is lawful". There was great rejoicing and much blithe moving in the land of Walmart and all lands, for now everone knew what was what.
And all was good.
Operative word being "was".
Our own Themis Fiona Ong discovers that the same social media policy can be both lawful and unlawful, especially if you got it from Walmart.
September 4th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy
For those of you who do not live in Chicago, Malört* is a wormwood-based schnapps. Yum, right?
Same with discussing politics in the workplace – it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth**.
Robin Shea lays out nine tips for keeping workplace political discussion under control.
* Full disclosure – I had Malört ice cream this past weekend at Black Dog Gelato.
** “Malört tastes like a baby aspirin wrapped in a grapefruit peel, bound with rubber bands and then soaked in well gin.” — Sam Mechling, marketing director for Jeppson’s Malört, to Inked magazine.
August 15th, 2019 by David Moore and Peter Gillespie at Laner Muchin
Look, I am not one to argue with attorneys because you never know when you might need one, so you decide for yourself the correct roaring-wall-of-water metaphor.
Regardless, any Illinois employer that either has or deals with:
would be well advised (attorney-speak for "just do it") to read what David Moore and Peter Gillespie have to say and then execute said prescribed actions elucidated (attorney-speak for "just do it") (attorneys have a rather extensive alternative vocabulary).
May 22nd, 2019 by Davis Bae, Shanon Stevenson and Jeffrey Winchester at Fisher Phillips
That no-match letter from the Social Security Administration is not them breaking up with you (come on, who else who would date them? and that is no reflection on you - really).
That letter is to let you know that you have a whole bunch of work in front of you trying to figure out why some of the employee information you sent them doesn't match the employee information they already have.
Don't freak out. Davis Bae, Shanon Stevenson and Jeffrey Winchester have worked out a 7-step guide, including what not to do, that will help you respond, will get the SSA the info they need and might even help you get your HR house in a little better order. The seven steps:
December 5th, 2018 by Aaron Warshaw at Ogletree Deakins
What happens when political discussions in the workplace have not been addressed before the discussions get political.
Political discussions at work are a minefield at any time. Add one part holiday party, two parts booze and maybe an off-site location, mix thoroughly and you may have yourself a politicussin'.
Aaron Warshaw provides 6 FAQs and their answers so nothing progresses past politiscussions.
January 23rd, 2019 by Karen Glickstein at Polsinelli
Biometrics in the workplace because it is scary for employers; it is scary for employees, it provides an additional level of security, it means taking steps to make sure you don't get sued, it requires implanting "a-device-that-you-won't-even-notice" in the forehead of each employee.
Karen Glickstein provides a list of seven YDGs (you-do-gigs) (pronounced "ya dig?" or the alternative "why dogs?" (to which I respond, "why not dogs?")) before you biometric up your workforce.
November 5th, 2018 by Danielle Krauthamer and Setareh Ebrahimian at Fisher Phillips
Can you justify a button ban? Are you sure?
Does it make a difference if the employees wearing the buttons are union or non-union employees? Hmmm, does it?
How about the three limited circumstances under which employers may place limits and prohibitions on the clothing choices of their employees while at work? Yes, there are three!
* For more information on "Controlling the political speech of Buttons the Clown", there isn't any, I looked, so just enjoy this clip of Jimmy Stewart as Buttons the Clown in the Greatest Show on Earth.
November 1st, 2018 by Robin Shea at Constangy
It happens in almost every workplace almost every day: somebody swears or is on an iffy website or is carrying a knife (or worse) or is using their own (not secure) phone or computer to send off a quick business email or text.
So what is illegal, what is inappropriate and what is just not that a big a deal?
Robin Shea at Constangy has your answers (and answers your questions) at our November 14 webinar, “Not Suitable for Work?”
Credits available: SHRM and HRCI
October 25th, 2018 by Deidra Nguyen at Littler Mendelson
As election season reaches full intensity (i.e., political ads have almost convinced you that no one is qualified to hold an elective office, let alone be a human being), Deidra Nguyen tells the story of election leave in this edition of Dear Littler:
What is the story with employee election leave?
October 25th, 2018 by Adam Gutmann
Who doesn't like a good party? Who doesn't like spending work time not working? Who doesn't like eating embarrassing amounts of candy? Adam Gutmann helps you sort out what you want (Milk Duds, Twizzlers, Starbursts) from what you don't (pencils, Almond Joys (come on, that is an acquired taste), Necco Wafers) when it comes to Halloween in the workplace, including:
October 16th, 2018 by Robin Shea at Constangy
If nothing else, you want to read Robin Shea's blog because she makes a good in-context Kate Gosselin reference. Of course there is "else" which includes stuff you need to work through:
There is also a picture that is not the Official "Grumpy Cat".
March 12th, 2019 by Peter Gillespie at Laner Muchin
Note to Self: Be sure to have clear written expense reimbursement policies in place before January 1, 2019.
Question for Self: Why Self?
Answer to Self: Because employers will be required to reimburse expenses or losses that employees incurred in the scope of their employment that are directly related to the services that the employee performs.
Follow-up answer to Self: And so you don't get sued.
Peter Gillespie explains to your Self (not former Illinois basketball coach Bill Self).
October 1st, 2018 by Tina Syring at Cozen O'Connor
Just because you say something is confidential doesn't make it so. And just because an employee believes the information is confidential and thinks they are treating it as such, doesn't mean they are – think airport restaurant and an employee checking in with the office over the phone, including names, numbers and obstacles overcome in a series of sales meetings.
Tina Syring didn't just think it, she encountered it. Here's how she helps make it unencounterable.
December 17th, 2018 by David Broderick at Littler Mendelson
David Broderick at Littler Mendelson is more than likely much better at math than I, and is absolutley more qualified to answer the question posed in this edition of Dear Littler:
Do we have to accommodate a religious objection to the flu shot?
September 26th, 2018 by Debra Friedman at Cozen O'Connor
20 things you can do to prevent workplace violence, from no-cost to full-blown, easy to time intensive.
September 26th, 2018 by hrsimple
No call. No show. Assume they quit. Find a replacement. Move on.
Then who shows up but Ms. Nocall Noshow.
December 17th, 2018 by Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks at Fisher Phillips
This blog was written by Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks at Fisher Phillips, which authors several of our resources. When Strict Dress Codes Went Out Of Style: The Modernization Of Workwear “Every day is a fashion show, and the world is your runway.” – Unknown This modern-day old adage gives one permission to own their own personal...
October 24th, 2018 by William S. Rutchow at Ogletree Deakins
Yes, as a Tennessee employer, you can PROHIBIT firearms in your workplace.
And yes, you can PERMIT concealed firearms.
You just have to POST it.
October 24th, 2018 by Danielle Krauthamer at Fisher Phillips
Some of you know that we have an office dog (who also happens to be my dog Queso, pictured) in addition to other dogs and cats/kittens (Marshall, our 10-day old kitten eating breakfast on our youtube channel - Queso has several cameos).
Danielle Krauthamer at Fisher Phillips provides the four legs you will need to stand on when considering your pawternity policy:
September 4th, 2018 by Jason Plowman at Polsinelli
Ahhh, yes. Labor Day is now behind us and it is finally time to pack up our white pants and ship our kids off to school! As your staff prepares to wave good-bye to their young-ins, you should be prepared to wave hello to requests for school-related time off with help from your tutor, Jason Plowman at Polsinelli.
August 16th, 2018 by Spencer Waldron at Fisher Phillips
If continuous background checks are in your future, you need to consider the following in the now:
August 14th, 2018 by hrsimple
Service animal pop quiz (yes/no):
Peter Petesch at our partner Littler, suggests, among other things in this SHRM article, covering the following when handling service animal requests:
And for those of you in Philadelphia, a BONUS Littler workshop on September 6, Doggy Dilemmas: Accommodating Service Animals for Employees and Customers, complete with a demonstration from Canine Companion's assistance dog Mork.
August 14th, 2018 by Seth Ford and Matt Anderson at Troutman Sanders
A customer is asked to leave a restaurant because of their political affiliation. A baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. A cashier won't check a customer out because of the t-shirt the customer is wearing.
Quoting David Byrne: "And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"
To which Benjamin Franklin might respond: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
So, go Boy Scout and be prepared.
October 24th, 2018 by Ruthie Goodboe at Ogletree Deakins
Spend 20 minutes with Ruthie Goodboe from our author Ogletree Deakins as she discusses employer work rules and employee handbook policies and practices in the podcast What's the deal with employee handbook rules?
List 10 up:
August 1st, 2018 by Shelby Skeabeck, formerly of Shawe Rosenthal
However, you can discipline and even terminate employees for violating work rules even though they have a legally protected condition.
February 4th, 2019 by Caroline Pham and Collin Cook at Fisher Phillips
Correct. And for those unfamiliar with Slack the business application, it is a cloud-based “team collaboration tool.” In simple terms, it is Facebook Chat / Google Hangouts for the business world: an instant messaging application that allows users to send messages and share files through online conversations.
It is also one more technological "upgrade" that creates new opportunities for harassment, wage/hour issues and privacy concerns.
Caroline Pham and Collin Cook provide what to look for and best practices to help you avoid the foot shooting thing.
February 25th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy
May 22nd, 2019 by Kat Cunnignham, president of Moresource Inc.
Name a benefit that employees want, doesn't cost anything, reduces paperwork and can boost morale and productivity.
Paid time off.
But there are potential downsides and questions you need to ask (and more important, answer) before announcing this wonder benefit to your staff. Kat Cunningham, president of Moresources Inc. lays them out for you.
June 27th, 2018 by Fiona W. Ong at Shawe Rosenthal
Everyone has rules for the workplace: don't take stuff that isn't yours from the refrigerator, don't let your stuff rot in the refrigerator, don't pretend your desk drawer is a refrigerator. On June 6, the National Relations Labor Board created new rules for work rules, grouping them into three categories and providing examples of acceptable language.
Category 1: Rules that are generally lawful to maintain
Category 2: Rules that warrant individualized scrutiny
Category 3: Rules that are unlawful to maintain
March 12th, 2019 by Fiona W. Ong at Shawe Rosenthal
Guidelines for a Valid No-Solicitation/No-Distribution Policy
Many employers would like to ensure that employees focus on their work during their working time – after all, that’s what they’re being paid to do! One way employers attempt to prevent distractions is by implementing a policy that prohibits employees from soliciting their co-workers (Buy cookies! Participate in this raffle! Come to my church supper! Join a union!) or giving them written materials to read while at work.
According to the National Labor Relations Board, the following guidelines apply:
June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple
When you took your job in HR, you knew that you would have to face some uncomfortable situations: terminations, poor performance reviews, disciplinary actions, but perhaps the worst of all is the “we need to talk about your personal hygiene” conversation. Your staff’s poor personal hygiene can negatively effect co-workers and customers alike, and management needs to take these delicate matters seriously. Here are few ways to deal with hygiene issues in the workplace.
1. Have a policy in place. And use it.
As we say often, the best way to enforce rules in the workplace is to have rules in the workplace. When you have a clear policy on what level of hygiene is expect of all staff members, your staff can clearly understand what is expected of them, and these uncomfortable issues are less likely to arise. When new staff is hired make sure to go over the employee handbook with them and highlight these areas. Here is a sample dress code policy from our partners at Polsinelli that includes hygiene.
May 20th, 2019 by Jill S. Kirila, Meghan E. Hill and Shennan Harris at Squire Patton Boggs
June 12th, 2018 by David A. Selden and Julie A. Pace at The Cavanagh Law Firm
For many years, an employer that wanted to conduct internal audits did its best based on legal advice and common sense without knowing what the government would think of its efforts and if, in attempting to correct errors, it might inadvertently have created other issues.
In December of 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USCIS) and the OSC issued a joint document entitled “Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits.” USCIS also updated its I-9 Central webpage with “Frequently Asked Questions: Self-Audits.” An employer is still advised to consult with legal counsel if questions or issues arise while conducting an internal audit of its I-9 forms, but at least now employers have a better idea what position the government would take on certain issues relating to self-audits of the Form I-9.
June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple
Needless to say, a company can’t operate (let alone succeed) if the employees aren’t showing up to work. But how do you ensure that your workforce will consistently report for duty? One good step is having a clear attendance policy. Communicating clearly about what are acceptable reasons to miss work, how these requests should be made, and what does not qualify as an excusable absence can prevent a lot of confusion and make employees more accountable. The key to communicating these guidelines is a well-written and enforced “No-Fault Attendance” policy. This kind of policy may even boost employee morale by minimizing resentment on the part of some employees toward coworkers who suffer no consequences for being chronically absent.
Here is a deeper look at what such a policy should cover.
June 15th, 2018 by hrsimple
It is not unusual for multiple members of a family to work for the same employer. However, such situations can be troublesome if the family members are in a superior-subordinate relationship because:
June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple
Immigration enforcement is a major priority for the Trump Administration. Work site enforcement and I-9 audits and inquiries by ICE have been increasing and they will continue to increase. In addition to this, yet another new I-9 form was issued in 2017. All employers must use the new Form I-9 during the hiring process by September 18, 2017.
The newest version of the Form I-9 is dated in the bottom left corner, 07/17/17, with the expiration date of 08/31/2019 in the top left corner. On September 18, 2017, use only the Form I-9 that contain these two dates, and make sure the I-9 is fully complete. Section 1 must be completed on the first day an employee works for you.
The changes to the new I-9 Form do not stop with the form itself - there were changes made to both the Form I-9 and the Form I-9 instructions. All employers should make sure to post the new Form I-9 instructions on the wall where you have your required employment posters and have the List A, B and C page available for employees when they complete the I-9 form.
Let’s look at the silver lining! This change in the form may be a good reminder to conduct an internal I-9 audit and I-9 training to help ensure proper compliance with the immigration, employment verification, and E-Verify requirements, unless you’ve already done so when the (last) new I-9 form was released earlier this year.
It pays to take the time to ensure your I-9s are in compliance as the fines have increased significantly. Companies who previously had one audit are likely on the list for a second. Those companies who already experienced a second I-9 audit and violations were noted, are likely to see a third audit.
Whew! Who knew immigration requirements and paperwork could be so dynamic?
June 12th, 2018 by Julie A. Pace, The Cavanagh Law Firm
Beginning on July 1, 2017, under Arizona law, all employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. If a company has 15 or more employees, employees accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. If a company has fewer than 15 employees, employees accrue and may use up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours per week (unless their actual schedule is fewer hours, then their actual schedule can be used). Unused sick leave rolls over from year to year unless the employer pays for the unused leave.
In lieu of an hourly accrual, an employer may give employees all of their sick leave hours up front at the beginning of the year. Additionally, . . .
September 18th, 2019 by hrsimple
Not all employers provide employees with vacation time, but for those who do it is wise to have a clear, well-enforced policy in place to prevent confusion and help employees understand what steps need to be followed in order to use their time off. If employers decide to to provide time off they need to make sure to do so in a uniform manner and apply the same regulations to each employee. Written vacation policies are the easiest way to communicate the requirements for taking time away from the office and to express in no uncertain terms what the employees responsibilities are for their time spent away, i.e., if they need to find a replacement for their duties or schedule their time in a certain manner. The sample policy at the end of the article can help you get started.
June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple
While there may be no state or federal law requiring an employer to have a handbook, there are a number or reasons why they are in an employer’s best interest.
A job worth doing is worth doing well
A handbook isn’t necessarily a get out of jail free card. Like any tool, if you don’t use your handbook properly it can end up hurting you.
Where to start
While there are any number of policies an employer can chose to include in their handbook, there are a few that are must haves.